On the Shelf – May 24, 2009

Here’s a few new things we came across this month that are definitely worth sharing.

Margaret’s Artisan Bakery Crisps
We came across these at the Ontario Cheese Society tasting in late April. Better known for their Margaret’s Artisan Flatbreads, these organic flour crisps from MJ Fine Foods are made in Vaughn and come in a variety of flavours that pair wonderfully with cheese, pate or dips. I’ve been treating them like the British version of “crisps” and have been eating them like chips. Favourite flavours include rosemary pistachio, mango curry and cashew, caramel apricot almond and cranberry pumpkin seed. They retail for around $5 a box and are available at gourmet food shops.

Buffalo Mozzarella
For a long time, fans of mozzarella di bufala have had a hard time finding the real thing. Made from the milk of the water buffalo, buffalo mozzarella has a very different flavour and texture from the cow’s milk bocconcini available at supermarkets. Locavores have long wondered – why can’t someone raise water buffalo here in Ontario and make local buffalo mozzarella? Well, now they have! The cheese has a different flavour and consistency than the Italian version with a less pudding-like texture and more tang on the tongue. A large ball will run you $15 at Pantry (974 College Street), but check ahead because it tends to go pretty fast once the folks there put it out on the shelves.

Fleurs & Cie Rose Lavender Raspberry Jam
Okay, this one isn’t technically local; Fleurs & Cie is a Quebec company that makes a variety of products with Quebec-grown ingredients. I first came across them a few years ago when they took part in the One of a Kind Show; I think I went home with four jars of their beautiful jams that are made with fresh fruit and organic flowers. The floral flavours are complimentary but never overwhelming so the lavender is noticeable but doesn’t make the product soapy. Use on toast, scones, yogurt or eat it straight from the jar (okay, maybe that’s just me). A Taste of Quebec (55 Mill Street) carries many products in the line; large jars of the floral jam are $9.

Brick Street Bakery Eccles Cakes
It’s possible that I’m an anglophile at heart (see “crisps” reference above), for I am a devout fan of many UK pastries. I’ll travel far and wide for a good eccles cake and one of the best in Toronto has to be the version they make at Brick Street Bakery (55 Mill Street). Eccles cakes are small round pastries filled with sweetened currants that were originally made in the English town of Eccles, some time in the late 1700s. Made from puff pastry and sprinkled with demerara sugar on top, they’re also known as “fly cakes” due to the fact that currants can easily be mistaken for dead flies. Good on their own or served with a big wedge of sharp cheddar, at $2 a pop at Brick Street Bakery, they’re well addictive.